You ask - our CEO Piran answers

Sustainability at KoRo

Is KoRo actually sustainable?

Why does KoRo use plastic packaging? 
Why isn’t everything organic at KoRo? 
Why do we still work with wholesalers?

Everything you always wanted to know regarding packaging, supply chains and sustainability at KoRo – we have collected your frequently asked questions and interviewed our CEO Piran

At KoRo we want to...

Reduce our Packaging Waste

Our large packages are part of our identity. This not only makes commerce easier and keeps you happy for longer, but also reduces packaging waste by a lot compared to conventional packaging sizes.

Have Smart Supply Chains

We think: there are often too many stops between a product and its origin. That's why we skip stages of the supply chain with our products.

Save food

Food wastage is a real environmental sin. At KoRo, we want to do something about this, and thats why we save food from being thrown out. In return, you get the best flavour at cheaper prices.

Your questions about suppliers and producers:

Piran: We know that you are very interested in the origin of our products and that it should ideally be written on the products. The fact that this is not yet the case is due to a complicated internal process: For some items, the countries of origin of our products vary regularly, depending on where our suppliers source the products. These sourcing changes could be as simple as buying from different regions when in season. Changing a label is not so easy and not so flexible with our current software. We share this information (about the origin and the organic certification of the products) on our website.

Piran: Our aim is to offer a wide variety of products in line with our customer’s demand. For some of these items, a longer transport route is the only way to deliver this type of item. However, we also try to offer you alternatives with shorter transportation routes when possible. For us, quality and good taste come first. In order to guarantee this, we sometimes have to resort to imports from far away countries. There are also products that are quite rare in the US, such as mangos. But as you know, we do our best to keep costs down on these items using the most direct path from farm to consumer. Sometimes this even means teaching farms and farm processing sites to package goods for us!

Piran: In 2021 with our European business, we saved 30-50 tons of plastic by using bulk packaging and skipping trade stages compared to retail. For 2022, we plan to save over 100 tons of plastic. By shortening transport routes and skipping trade stages for the majority of our products, we generate lower CO₂ emissions. Although we are not always the most sustainable for any individual items, we believe our bulk approach and short supply chains on many items will have a large impact. For us, sustainability also means creating radical transparency in our actions and openly communicating internal decisions. We also always have open ears for criticism, ideas, or comments – so please reach out to provide us feedback at any time.

Your questions about our packaging:

Piran: Packaging must protect your food, and the jargon for this is called “optimal barrier capability”. Without adequate barriers, products will deteriorate faster and – in the worst case – you will have to throw them away. For example, we cannot pack our nuts and dried fruits in paper only, as they are very fatty and the packaging could easily be damaged. Damaged packaging allows pathogenic bacteria to enter the food; your products would go off faster, and you would have to throw away a lot of food. A German study from 2020 shows that packaging often helps to reduce food waste by extending shelf life. The environmental benefit from avoided food waste is usually 5 to 10 times higher than the environmental cost of the packaging (1). In many cases, plastic packaging is the optimal way to provide maximum food safety and the longest shelf life. Contrary to its bad reputation, plastic is not necessarily the least sustainable packaging option. In fact, plastic only becomes a hazard when it enters the environment. 90% of our products are consumed at home and accordingly end up in household waste – which means they can be recycled afterwards. To achieve the same protective barrier, paper packaging would require an aluminum addition, making it much more difficult to recycle. As a general rule, only monoplastic can be 100 % recycled, whereas composite plastic can only be downcycled due to its properties. This means that the reprocessing does not correspond to the original quality and a devaluation takes place (for example, sports floors for playgrounds or sports halls are made from it). This is obviously a very complex issue, and we are always re-evaluating the circumstances.

Piran: Answering this question is not so easy — if not impossible! Although paper is easy to recycle, it is usually not dense nor stable enough for food. Packaging such as plastic, on the other hand, is very light and saves transport costs. Glass causes significantly more transport costs than plastic or paper, but still performs better in terms of life cycle assessment when used for a long time (we are talking about glass recycled up to 30 times). The production of aluminum cans requires a lot of energy, but the recyclability of aluminum is better. At the end of the day, there is no final answer for the most sustainable packaging. It is much more important to weigh up the possible packaging for each product and make individual decisions, taking into account all relevant factors (including quality preservation, food safety, costs, and sustainability).

Your questions about our products:

Piran: The producing countries vary depending on the product. We source products from all over the world and ultimately buy from where we find the best quality. The exact specifications on origin and production can be found on the respective product detail page on our website.

Piran: The smaller the quantities purchased, the more we have to work with wholesalers or importers, because we are not big enough as a company to always source directly from producers. Importers enable efficient transport from the country of origin, which ultimately saves emissions from logistics. However, we already source some of our products directly. The proportion of products that we buy directly from producers or manufacturers increases every year – with our size and the volume we buy, and with it our transparency within the supply chains. Our goal is to source every product from its origin, so we can provide the highest level of transparency in the food industry.

Piran: Even though some of our products are organically grown or certified organic, other parts of our portfolio are not. The main reason for this is simply the taste. Let’s take the nut butters for example: we tested both conventional and organic nuts for the nut butters that we offer in conventional quality. We were more convinced by the taste of the conventional products, since they have a more mild taste. Another reason for not offering our nut butters in organic quality is the significant price difference. We want our products to be affordable and offer high quality foods for every budget. We evaluate each product by price, quality, and taste and then make an individual decision based on those factors.